Friday, December 19, 2014

Venice - The Doge's Palace

Near the end of our visit, we went to the Palazzo Ducale, or the Doge's Palace.  For those who don't know anything about Venice, the Doge was the leader of Venice for centuries, from around A.D. 700 until Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice in 1797.  Needless to say, as the center of power for one of the most powerful city-states in the world, it's a pretty nice place.

Here's another picture of the exterior.  The place is right on St. Mark's Square, near where one would traditionally enter Venice from the sea, which was the only way to enter it for most of the city's history.


Swanky!
As you would expect, the interior was just as nice.  My favorite part was the armory.  Dude had a LOT of swords.

The Golden Staircase.

Statue of Hercules near the Golden Staircase.

This is why it's called the Golden Staircase.

A moderately sized room.

Pretty much all the ceilings were done like this.  Never miss a chance to bling things out.


If I remember correctly this is the Council Room.  The description said that there were secret doors in here.  I tried to find them but failed my roll.

Crazy revolving door that allowed people to enter the Council Room next door.

This was the slot through which you sent messages slandering your enemies and trying to get the Doge to have them arrested.


I think these are cool because there were many, many racks of the swords you see fanned out at the bottom.  They were all of very similar, although not identical, design.  I am guessing that this was the standard sword that most palace guards got.  There were a heck of a lot of them.

I love me some maces.


There were several rooms just full of this kind of thing.  The Doge was well protected.


Hey, do you think you might need to shoot someone, and then club them?  You do?  Well great, we have the weapon for you!

Or, you could shoot someone and then stab them.  I can't believe these really worked well.  It seems like the gun part would throw the balance of the sword off.  I bet the guy that owned it thought it was badass, though (and he was right!).

OK, we're just going to go with shooting, then?  Cool.

That, my friends, is a chastity belt.


I really liked the giant two-handed swords.  These things were close to six feet long.

This is the hall where the large body of nobles met.

Is me looking out the window on the Bridge of Sighs.

Prison bars.

Prison door.   The prison was large and dreary.  So large that T and I got turned around when trying to get out, and T is not one who gets lost.  It was also lunchtime and we were hungry.

This is the view out of the window on the Bridge of Sighs.
Overall, the Doge's Palace was a great tour.  I wanted to get the optional "Secrets" tour, but we got there too late.  Oh well, I'll get it next time.  Even the base palace tour was a lot of fun.  I highly recommend getting the audio guide, and it contains a lot of useful and interesting information.

A few more random pictures before I go.

This store near our apartment sold 1.5 liters of house wine in a plastic bottle for only 5.30 euros.  I don't know much about wine, but I thought it was fine.

A bell in the main bell tower on St. Mark's Square.

This says that Galileo demonstrated the telescope to the Doge of Venice from this tower in 1609.

From the Naval Museum.  These are listed as 'boarding sabers.'

This is a gun targeting computer from a WWII-era battleship.  It's considerably larger than a fridge.

View of Arsenale.

As you might expect, there are a lot of beautiful boats in Venice.

This was the ceiling of our living room (one of them) in the apartment.

At one time there were shoe makers on this street.


This is one of only two bridges left in Venice without guard rails. This one is exempted because it only goes to a private residence.




A square in Murano.

Murano.

The view up the Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge.

Once an important entrance to the Doge's Palace.  Mars (L) and Neptune (R) presiding.  Look, I don't want to tell Mars his business.  I mean, he is the God of War and everything.  But I don't know, maybe some armor?

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